Hannah Cole

Travel blogs are a popular niche. But you can easily reinvent the wheel and include interesting posts about vacations, even if you are not writing a conventional blog in that niche. For example if you are a local blogger you could interview owners of local bed and breakfasts, or give visitors a nice pretty tourist guide to your town (more interesting than official sites!) Or you could offer tips for certain travelers in your niche (for example, vegan travelers).

A wonderful example of someone who has done this right is the site Simply Emma. This beautiful blog was set up by a young woman who does not want to be defined by her disability. However as an avid traveler and concert goer, her site is a boon of information on everything from venue accessibility to wheelchair friendly airlines.

Camping Under The Stars

Hannah Cole

  1. Leave No Trace is a book of 7 steps to be a responsible tourist
  2. Cool Camping is a modern alternative to fusty camping guides
  3. Camp in My Garden lets people rent out their gardens to campers
  4. Campfire safety is very important. Find tips at Smokey Bear
  5. The Camping Pocket Bible covers all the basics.
  6. Invest in a First Aid Kit and Fire Safety Kit
  7. Buy freeze dried vegan meals at Outdoor Herbivore
  8. Make camping-friendly meals: Another Fork in the Trail & Vegan Unplugged
  9. Lifestraw makes contaminated river water safe
  10. The Natural Navigator (navigate via the moon, sun, stars and clouds)
  11. The Walker’s Guide to Outdoor Clues & Signs is by explorer Tristan Dooley

Camping with Animal Friends 

Loki the Wolfdog and friend

  1. Ruffwear (also in UK) & Safe Life Jacket both make good brands of dog lifejackets
  2. The Trail Hound’s Handbook is a nice little guide for children
  3. Bear-ology (by founder of Get Bear Smart Society) has tips on camping near bears
  4. The Cougar includes tips to keep dogs safe around cougars.
  5. Raptor Shield was invented to prevent small dogs being lifted into the sky by birds of prey. Made from the same material as bulletproof windows, it is designed to be breathable so cool enough in summer and warm enough in winter (for use when a dog is at risk). A naturalist has examined the product, and found the talons of a hawk or raptor could not penetrate the material. It may help against other animal attacks.

Natural Bug Protection

Below are a few of the better brands to review. But first a few tips:

  1. Avoid DEET (this is toxic and banned in many countries)
  2. Avoid essential oils if you are allergic, epileptic or asthmatic.
  3. Avoid essential oils near pets (citronella is toxic, so don’t burn candles to repel insects). Health Canada has banned citronella in repellents, due to cancer concerns over cancer (in low amounts, it is not effective).
  4. Help prevent mosquitoes by avoiding dark clothing and beer!
  5. Ticks can cause Lyme disease, and are prone to people with pets.. Wear white socks in grassy and wooded areas and try to stay on the center of trails, and check yourself regularly for ticks. It’s good to shower when you get home. If your pet has attracted a tick, either have the vet remove it or use Tick Twister which was invented by a vet to twist rather the pull the tick out, ensuring the head and body do not remain.

The Best Natural Bug Protection Brands 

  1. Bug Protector – lab-tested against mosquitoes and ticks
  2. Bite Free – developed from an Indian recipe, made with essential oils
  3. Incognito & Mosi-Guard – two quality natural repellents
  4. Kite Shield – mixed reviews, targets mosquito sensing receptors
  5. Naturally Bug-Free – 80 non-toxic recipes

Responsible Green Travel 

Villa in Tuscany, Jan Matson

Many travelers are concerned over events related to the tourist industry (endangered species, coral reefs, polluted oceans etc). Yet most instances of bullfights and trophy hunting are are financially supported by western tourism. Responsible Travel has a page on things to avoid:

  1. Don’t ‘swim with dolphins’ (unless you know they are wild)
  2. Do not visit animal zoos, circuses or aquariums
  3. Be careful of visiting ‘elephant orphanages’, as some are glorified zoos
  4. Don’t take rides on animals (camels, horses, donkeys)
  5. Don’t have your photo taken with an animal (often taken from the wild). Many of these animals also have their teeth removed, and are killed.
  6. Boycott airlines that still kidnap wild animals and transport them back for vivisection. Cruelty Free International has an up-to-date list.
  7. If you travel to Thailand frequently, Soi Dogs often need flight volunteers to take animals out of horrendous situations to new homes abroad, using your baggage allowance to save money on flight costs. It’s usually best to adopt locally, but in this case they need help.

What To Do If You Witness Animal Abuse

  1. Take photos and videos if possible, and contact local tour operators and the police. Make a note of local animal welfare organizations before travel..
  2. Report animal abuse abroad (not just zoos) at Zoocheck’s Traveler Alert. They can alert local authorities and the police. If enough people report the same issue, tour operators may change policy.
  3. Report online at PETA & World Events Ending Animal Cruelty

Dog Friendly Vacations

Jan Matson

Banning dogs from beaches is not a good idea, as some irresponsible tourists leave dogs in hot cars on arrival. Dogs are legally banned in commercial kitchens, but restaurants can choose to accept if wished (all establishments must legally accept guide/assistance dogs).

  1. Walkiees (submit fave UK walks, each submission generates donation to Dog’s Trust)
  2. The Beach Guide (UK) lists all beaches that are dog-friendly
  3. Dog-Friendly i(UK) has 30,000 pet friendly listings, updated yearly
  4. Your Dog Holidays offers reader reviews of dog friendly vacations
  5. Dog Vacay (a cozy home with a loving sitter) 
  6. Good Guide to Dog-Friendly Pubs, Hotels & BBs was published in 2017
  7. Dog-Friendly Breaks in Britain is a regularly updated guide
  8. Canine Cottages (UK) lists dog friendly holiday properties
  9. London For Dogs features over 120 ideas for dogs in the city
  10. Pawfect staysDoggy Devon offer good inspiration for ‘local dog blog!’
  11. Download free ‘pet friendly’ shop window poster at The Kennel Club
  12. Find trusted pet sitters at Pawshake and Holidog.
  13. For Dog’s Sake is a fun simple guide to keeping your pooch safe
  14. The Safe Dog Handbook has good tips for dog travel
  15. We all know to never leave dogs in hot (or even warm) cars
  16. My Dog is Cool has posters to educate on not leaving dogs in hot cars
  17. Learn how to help a dog in a hot car
  18. My Dog Nose It is a natural sun protection brand (never use human sunscreen on dogs, zinc oxide and titanium dioxide are both toxic to pets)

Cooling Vests for Dogs (don’t leave alone in hot weather, as cooling reduces as lining dries)

  1. Swampcooler (also sold in UK) is a cooling vest for dogs (reviewed at Eardog)
  2. Hurtta Cooling Vest protects the heart region and chest, vital for circulation
  3. Cooling Harness has a waterproof pocket that is filled with cold water
  4. Cooling Coat cools the dog’s back and chest, with an adjustable belt and collar
  5. Heatstroke is an emergency. Apply cool (not cold) water, then to the vet.

Holiday Cottage Companies with Affiliate Programs (all UK)

Jan Matson

Obviously these cottage holidays for people on a certain budget. But if you run a travel blog, reviewing or profiling independently run holiday cottage companies is nicer than always endorsing big corporate travel. And due to the high prices of some of these vacations in high season, your profits are good on bookings.

  1. Sykes Cottages (the finest hand picked properties)
  2. Rural Retreats (luxury holiday cottages and homes)
  3. Manor Cottages (holiday cottages in the Cotswolds)
  4. Gorgeous Cottages (luxury cottages in Yorkshire)
  5. Norfolk Hideaways (over 350 idyllic cottages)

Natural Sun Protection

Girls enjoying the sun at New York’s Jones’ Beach in 1939

Never use human sunscreens on pets

  1. Tilley make good hemp hats.
  2. Green People Edelweiss Sun Lotion SPF15 is organic and vegan
  3. Taylor’s Sun! Natural Sunscreen is a pot of natural vegan sunscreen
  4. Balm Baby Sun! is also vegan and can be used as a diaper rash balm
  5. Dr Axe has a simple sunscreen recipe (with shea butter, not for latex allergies) .

Vegan Travel

  1. Vanilla Bean App is a free app, citing detailed info for 5000 restaurants.
  2. Veganagogo travel app has 50 language translations & night mode for street stalls
  3. The Essential Vegan Travel Guide is a good book for travelers
  4. NutPods makes travel-friendly non-dairy creamer
  5. The Nomadic Vegan has lots of useful info
  6. World Within Her is a luxury vegan travel blog to inspire